On 22 October, UNACTO marked 71 years of United Nations with a flag raising ceremony at Toronto City Hall. The celebration brought together over 60 participants including honoured guests and members from United Nations programs, committees and volunteer community.
The United Nations officially came into being in 1945 when the UN Charter was ratified by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. The UN anniversary is celebrated in many countries across the globe in October of every year and is used as an opportunity to put into focus areas where the UN needs to redouble its efforts in order to meet current and future challenges.
On this occasion, Syed Khusro, President of UNACTO, took the opportunity to highlight the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the importance of joining hands with the global partners to ensure the goals are achieved by 2030. “Let us all take part, support and join the UN committees to help individuals who need our assistance. That can even take the form of showing others the right path, offering proper guidance and creating proper support,” said Khusro.
UNACTO centers around three main UN initiatives—Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability, and Youth and Development. Guest speakers invited to speak on behalf of each goal at the event.
Rabea Sultan, ambassador of the International Development and Diplomacy Internship Programme (IDDIP), touched on the subject of migration and protection of refugees and shared her experience with working with the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada.
Georgina Bencsik, former Director and Environment Chair of UNACTO and an Al Gore’s Climate Reality Climate Leader, reminded attendees that the economy cannot be sustainable unless our environment is. “It is very important to go back to our roots, to Mother Earth, to be healthy citizens working together, to be kind to ourselves, to fellow citizens, to the global community and all living organisms,” said Bencsik.
Numan Tarin, who leads UNAC's Canada’s Diversity Advantage Project, discussed the initiative's objectives. The project engages youth and high school mentors across five cities and aims to cultivate a deeper understanding of the historic journey of different individuals and their contributions to building and shaping Canada as a nation of shared heritages.
Following the speeches, the UN flag was raised outside of Toronto City Hall to officially mark the occasion. The event was capped off with a reception for all guests.